Yi Hsuan Lai is a visual artist from Taiwan currently working in New York. Her graphic design and live theatre documentation background led her to develop an artistic process that combines staged self-portraiture, still-life, sculpture-based photography, and installation. She incorporates photography, sculpture, and found objects to create work that speaks to physical and psychological experiences, reflecting the complexity of self-identity, the fluidity of the body, and Otherness. Lai also experiments with materiality for her photographs to create a dialogue between tangible sensibility and tactile ambiguity within a space.

Her series, Ongoing Narratives, was selected by Louise Fedotov-Clements (FORMAT Festival) and Giuseppe Oliverio (PHmuseum)
as one of the Top 10 winners of the Critics’ Choice Awards in 2022. We are delighted to present ten images for the series, including quotes of appreciation from the critics along with a short statement by the artist herself.

Scattering. I assembled the broken sculptural pieces to make a new sculpture; through the depiction of photography, the sculpture turns into a figure to symbolize the fluidity of the body. It presents my experience as a foreigner always moving, packing, unpacking, and finding a place, so-called home. © Yi Hsuan Lai

“In this project, I used found objects and disposable materials I collected in New York as my subject. Through the constructed space I depict in my photographs, I reinterpret and reinvent objects with visceral and anthropomorphic qualities to speak to people’s physical and psychological experiences. My work travels through construction and deconstruction, animate and inanimate, in two and three dimensions, to revalue the one-time use of materials into bodily and otherworldly representations. The sense of proliferation in my work reflects my emigrating experience — the uncertainty and fluidity of people’s status.”
Yi Hsuan Lai

Be your Alien. My own distorted figure is hidden in the reflection of reflective material, and this image is a metaphorical expression of bodily transformation in this overwhelming and bombarding material world. © Yi Hsuan Lai

Giuseppe Oliverio, Founder and Director of PHmuseum in Italy, writes:

“Yi Hsuan Lai images are the fruit of a research where light, color and shapes interact to give life to new, often sculptural, microcosms. The images though are more than that; they hide a range of emotions where the psychological and metaphorical sides are as important as a genuine research for the aesthetics. Each one of us is welcome to connect to the found objects portrayed and the metaphysical sets openly, something that gives strength to her approach and the themes she invites you to explore, including self-identity, femininity, and Otherness. Her practice has a very good potential and deserves to be explored further.”

Porous Skin and Water © Yi Hsuan Lai

Louise Fedotov-Clements, Director of the FORMAT Festival in the UK, writes:

“This is a set of images that reinterprets and reinvents objects to instill a visceral and anthropomorphic quality. Through construction and deconstruction, found objects are reconfigured by the artist with a feeling of proliferation, rooted in the experience of emigration and the fluid uncertainty of status and identity.”